Nordia Geographical Publications (Jan 2006)

The Forgotten Uranium Mine of Paukkajanvaara, North Karelia, Finland

  • Alfred Colpaert

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 35, no. 2


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The cold war era was a time with huge demand for uranium. Also in Finland exploration showed the presence of uranium in the bedrock of North Karelia. A small mine operated from 1959 to 1961 near Paukkajanvaara in the municipality of Eno. The mine produced some 30 tons of uranium concentrate. After the main ore body was exhausted the mine was abandoned, due to the low demand for uranium after 1960, the mine has never been reopened. The area was without attention for nearly three decades. During the 1990’s the area was rehabilitated, covered with clay and till and replanted with pine. After the land rehabilitation project radiation in the mining site was reduced to the normal Finnish background level. The site is an interesting field laboratory to study the release of radioactive elements from uranium mining into the environment. Knowledge from this site could prove to be important, seen in the light of the renewed interest in uranium exploration in Finland.